Viva Wallet, a Greek payments startup, is considering raising €500 million (over $592.4 million) in a fresh funding round to support its digital banking operations, Reuters reported last week.
This came only eight months after the startup received a banking license with its merger with Praxia Bank. Though the deal was signed in January, it received a nod from the Bank of Greece earlier this month.
Hence, the payments firm is seeking to offer investors stakes in a newly created entity that will absorb its banking loans. One of the anonymous sources of the publication also pointed out Viva’s ambition of becoming a neo bank without a loan book.
The startup’s aim to sell loans at its books to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) will significantly strengthen its balance sheet.
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Though officially not disclosed, the report detailed that Viva Wallet has hired Jeffries to advise on the fundraising round.
The Boom of Digital Banks in Europe
This came at a time when there is a digital banking frenzy in the European markets. Most notably, Revolut and N26 are leading this industry, following massive fundings this year both of them are now among the most-valued European fintech companies.
Meanwhile, Revolut is aggressively expanding its footprint globally and endured a loss of £270 million last year, almost three times the previous year’s losses.
However, many such digital banks are impacted by the ongoing pandemic as UK’s Monzo raised concerns over its future business. In June, the fintech startup raised £60 million (around $75.89 million) after depreciating its valuation by 40 percent.
Viva gained its e-money license in 2015 and is offering its services in 23 European countries. The platform is facilitating payments with three fiat currencies: euro, British pound, and Romanian leu.